The humble press release can be an efficient way of bringing news to the media’s attention. But with journalists receiving hundreds of emails each day, are they really the best way to get your message across?

At Encore, we believe there’s still a place for press releases but they’re just one of many ways you can open up opportunities to share your news. 

Here are our top tips to get your release right:

1. Is it newsworthy?

The topic of your press release might be important to you but is it genuinely newsworthy?

The old adage that ‘Dog bites man’ isn’t news but ‘Man bites dog’ is remains true to this day.

If someone was telling your story but about another organisation, would it genuinely make you sit up and pay attention? Is there something unusual about it – a genuine world first, unusual event, great photography or even celebrity involvement?

If not, it’s may not be newsworthy. Go ahead and post it on your website and social channels but perhaps this one is not for external media.

2. Is it timely?

This has never been more important that in this digital age where news is coming at us 24:7.

If your event took place yesterday, sending out a press release today is probably too late. No media outlet likes to be seen to be reporting ‘old news’. Similarly, is something happening on the day you send out your release that makes it more timely to publish now than later? Draw attention to it, if so!

3. Does it tell a good story?

Every good story has a start, a middle and an end and press releases are exactly the same.

With so much competition for editorial space, if it isn’t clear what a story is about, it will likely be spiked. You also need to make sure you’ve answered the ‘6Ws’ of ‘who, what, where, when, why and how’ (yes, we know the last isn’t a W!). Journalists are tight for time. The less additional work you make for them asking questions, the better your chances of publication.

4. Tone of voice – keep it simple

If you have a particular media outlet in mind, take a look at the stories they usually run and their writing style. Matching this where possible makes it easier for them to use your release as it will require minimal editing to fit in.

Keep it simple and cut out hyperbole. Every company believes their business is innovative, groundbreaking and industry-leading but its not for journalists to promote your business – leave the flowery adjectives to the marketing team!

5. Go Marie Kondo 

Keep your release succinct and remove unnecessary details that clutter the story.

Make sure you include a great headline that sums up the story at a glance (and why its relevant to the media outlet’s audience).

Do you read every email that lands in your inbox? No! Make it easy for journalists to see quickly why they should read yours.  

6. Have you included good quality photography?

In a world where everyone with a smartphone can point and click, high-quality, professional photography has never stood out so much.

A picture paints a thousand words, as the old saying goes, and it’s true that photos grab attention on the page/screen.  A well-framed, well-lit, well-constructed image that explains what your story is about at a glance will always improve the likelihood of your story being published. Just make sure you size appropriately for digital or print media and include a clear photo caption and photographer credit.

 7. Are you targeting the right person?

It sounds obvious but before sending your press release, make sure you’re contacting the right journalist and media outlet! Review your target publication to make sure they cover the kind of story you’re sending and then  identify the right journalist to send your press release to. It’s no good sending a story about healthcare to a journalist who covers transport. Most journalists are far too busy to forward misdirected press releases to the ‘right’ contact.